Ale vs Lager

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Ale vs Lager

Postby brewmeisterintng » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:22 am

If I ferment my wort at a temperature in the lager range with a yeast that is tolerant to the cold (Pacman) will the results be a lager or an ale?
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Why do you ask...

Postby brewmeisterintng » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:29 am

I read this and was surprised. Craft Beer LocatorBeer Fact of the Day: Courtesy of Steve Parkes - Ale vs Lager yeast. For over 100 years it was thought that ale and lager yeast were different species of Saccharomyces. Now all brewing yeast are Saccharomyces cerevisiae and ale and lager are different strains. The differences that make them important to brewers aren't enough for the taxonomists evidently.
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Still Curious

Postby brewmeisterintng » Sun Aug 29, 2010 1:49 pm

Normal ale fermentation temperatures range from 68 to 72 °F (20 to 22 °C) and lager fermentation temperatures from 45 to 55 °F (7 to 13 °C). I am fermenting below ale and above lager by these standard. Am I delving in an area never explored or are people just not interested. I am waiting (not to patiently) to see what the final product will taste like.
Any thoughts???
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ale and lager

Postby slothrob » Sun Aug 29, 2010 4:10 pm

I was lead to believe that Lager yeast had a mutation at some point that allowed it to ferment cooler. So the two yeast types would still be the same species, but they have taken the first step toward divergent evolution. Much in the way that Saison yeast is thought to be a wine yeast that had a mutation that allows it to (barely) ferment maltose.

There are a few beers known as "hybrid styles", Steam Beer being made with Lager yeast fermented warm, while Alt and Koelsch are made from Ale yeast fermented cool. To make it even more confusing, both Alt and Koelsch are generally Lagered after fermentation.

It's pretty common to ferment Ale yeast for many styles in the mid to low 60's, though. I think 68-72F is a pretty narrow range to consider acceptable for Ale yeast. I even ferment most British yeasts near 62-64F, unless I'm trying to get a particularly estery beer. I wouldn't consider making a Pale Ale with WLP002 at 62F to be a hybrid beer and it wouldn't be very Lager-like.

Some yeasts, like the Alt and Koelsch yeasts can start to take on Lager-like characteristics when the fermentation gets below 60F, such as Sulfur production. I'd consider a Blond Ale fermented at 58F with Wy1007 to be a Hybrid beer, and it would also be very Lager-like. I've had Cream Ales made with WLP001 that were really indistinguishable from a Lager.

Still, I wouldn't consider a beer a Lager unless it was fermented below 55F with a Lager yeast. Technically, the beer should also be Lagered after fermentation, but I've heard that some brewers have had success making Lagers with little to no Lagering after fermentation.
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Thanks for the reply

Postby brewmeisterintng » Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:27 pm

I had everything to brew the Ugly Pug Schwarzbier Clone except the lager yeast. When I found out that Pacman would ferment at lower temperatures, it was worth a shot. I originally called it a lager but then renamed it an ale now I will cross that out and call it a hybrid. Not sure how noticeable it will be anyway with all the specialty grains... anyway I am going on week two with the chest freezer set at 59 degrees.
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